Spotlight On: Modern Archive, LLC
Mount Vernon, New York
The way Catherine Brown, founder of Modern Archive, a custom rug company specializing in hand knotted wool and silk rugs, puts it, even as a child (long before she knew what a textile designer was) she was a designer... of sorts. Her early fascination with patterns printed on wallpaper, tiles, and textiles and constant drawing (sometimes inappropriately on her parents' work or books) was the stuff of family lore. “Art came first—but I also knew early on that I wanted to use my skills to help others," she says. With her recent launch of Modern Archive and her collaboration with GoodWeave®, she is doing just that. “Right off the bat, I wanted my rugs certified so my customers and I could have peace of mind.”
The first thing seen by visitors to her Westchester, New York studio is a bulletin board covered with bits of potential inspiration: an image torn from a magazine, a piece of her grandmother’s embroidery, and a photo she took of light falling on an old iron grate. Those images pinned up in her studio percolate over time, she says of her artistic process, and —along with other experiences—often end up in some fashion in her rugs. “In Stitches,” with its fuchsia and red floral border and its calming ivory center, was inspired by a piece of embroidery in a museum exhibit. Her favorite rug, “Rhode Island,” a solid ivory wool piece with chestnut silk accents, began with the discovery of an old table runner found in a Rhode Island thrift store (Catherine is a graduate of the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design).
“I’m interested in light. I especially like the way silk and wool capture light,” she says of her favorite materials. That interest in the play of light on surfaces comes in part, she explains, from her years spent working in textile design in Australia with its long season of sunshine and open spaces. “Oh, yes, and I’m a Vermeer fan too, of course. It’s all about the light.”
However, Catherine Brown acknowledges that, art aside, her real inspiration and what drives her is her love of Nepal, its people and the very old craft of carpet weaving. “I fell in love with the place and feel so blessed by how kind and gracious the people are,” she says. I want to support them and better their lives, she continues. “This is my purpose and my passion!” It is most certainly a passion supported by her partnership with GoodWeave.
For more information, visit www.modernarchive.net.